Thursday, May 13, 2010

What's in (m)a name?

My name is Rajalakshmi, people at home call me Raji. Even in high school, I had difficulty in pronouncing it whenever a teacher asked me what my name was. I also realized that it was old fashioned in my class where the girls were called Padma, sudeepa, gayatri,sujatha, sudha, chithra,hamsa, aruna, charusheela etc. I would often complain to my dad that I didn't like my name and he would exclaim with great reverence, "That's your athai's, my (dear departed) sister's name"

My own sisters and my brother all thought of refashioning our names to suit our modern lives; My younger brother Sathya Narayanan selected Satheesh, Lakshmi wanted Sharmila, Alamelu chose Urmila and they suggested that it would rhyme if I were called pramila. I hated that too and said Nirmala would be better.Just wishful thinking, we never did anything about it.

Fast forward a couple of decades and read the extract from a dialogue between me and Prof.Krishnamoorthy from Madura college, where I worked for sometime.

Prof Krish: What's your name ma?
Raji: Rajalakshmi
P.K: That's a good name!
Raji: Is it your mother's?
P.K: No, my grandmother's
Raji: (sick smile)

Of late, with my waist line expanding and cheeks balooning, the name has started to suit me a bit. Or I have learnt to pronounce it with some style and present it( actually i say raji most of the time) properly. I lay the stress as follows...RAjaLAKshmi. hehehe and guess as I move on to my 50s and 60s ,it would suit me far better than if I had been named Kamini or Eloise or Swetha. Imagine being called Kamini patti or Eloise kollu patti!


Harini Padmanabhan said...

Nice way of consoling youself. :D

Raji said...

your grin saved you! here I am pouring my heart out and...

BALA said...

When i was young, i had a feeling that the names would suit looks. When i heard a name like 'Raghavan', i only thought of a middle-aged man and my mind did never allow me to imagine a figure so very young, boyish and energetic. This is probably because of the images of our parents that we associate when we are trained to retrench their names in our memory. In my later years i realised that an old name like 'Lakshmi' is considered old because of our mental picture of the person with that name juts out a traditional, orthodox figure. As far as my name is concerned, it is nice in my youth, since it means a boyish personality. I must change it as soon as i have grown old. Luckily the Tamil writer Mr Balakumaran still has not changed his name. I think i shall continue to have my name till i kick the bucket.

Chester Kallas said...

ஒரு பெயருக்கு இவ்வளவு யோசனையா?
I better ask my sibling to choose their name ...